Would you give your Facebook password to a prospective employer?

200350115-002Hot controversy these days, on whether, if asked, you would provide a prospective employer your Facebook password.  Candidates these days are being asked during the interview for their Facebook password before they have a chance to go home and cleanse the bad stuff. 

 Years ago, employers would ask women what kind of birth control they used. (I remember being asked during an interview with Pacific Bell telephone when I was 18 years old.) The feeling was that if the candidate used none or used something that wasn't consistent, they would get pregnant and leave the job. Women were often turned down because of what type of birth control they used. It has nothing to do with whether they could do the job. Catholics, in particular, suffered a great deal of discrimination.

In many states, a credit check is performed. This was not allowed (or wasn't done) in California. However, the reason that a credit check was performed was to see whether you were responsible and paid your bills. Candidates with poor credit histories were considered to be possible risks for stealing money from their employers. It had nothing to do with whether you could do the job.

Women, not men, were asked how many children they had. Too many (whatever that number was) or even one was sufficient cause for candidates to not get a job because there was that nasty old child care issue and employers figured that mothers (not fathers) would have to run home everytime the child cried.

Men who were married were considered a better risk than men who were not. Men who were married were considered "stable" and therefore would be a better risk than someone who was still "sowing his oats". It had nothing to do with whether the candidate did a better job than the next candidate.

The practice of judging morals, how someone should be living their life, privacy, viewpoints, all have nothing to do with whether the person can or cannot do the job. This punitive action will cause people to seek other avenues to express themselves in this day and age of social media. Hopefully, there is enough of a pushback from the general public that will allow laws to be created to prevent workers from being judged on criteria that has absolutely nothing to do with their performance, credibility and honesty while on the job. Employers are entitled to information that leads to judgment on whether the candidate can perform adequately and competently on the job. Not how they live their personal lives.

One Reply to “Would you give your Facebook password to a prospective employer?”

  1. Would I give out my username/password? When elephants roost in trees. It’s a security issue with me-not privacy. If I give out that, then I could be giving out THEIR company passwords! Wonder if their HR has considered THAT part of the equation? Oops.

    As far as married v unmarried men being “more stable”-don’t know about you, Ms. Estrin, but I’ve certainly seen my fair share of the married variety who were “sowing their oats” far and wide. Stable? Hardly. In fact, one was engaged in a three-way that I know of-and very nearly got caught doing it. The other participants? Also married.

    Let’s hear it for some more-erm, objective measures of competence rather than looking at social media webpages, please. Those things are just so high school. Could we grow up, please?

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